Thursday, April 16, 2015

Support for Carbon Tax Reaches Almost 70%

Money out the chimney (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
A large majority of Americans support taxing carbon emissions, according to polling results released yesterday, and favorability rises to two-thirds if the tax is used to send money back to households.

The survey by Stanford University and Resources for the Future also found that efforts by environmental organizations to increase urgency around climate change by pointing to extreme weather isn't working, and neither are efforts to erode people's belief in global warming by questioning the science.

"There is really no evidence here at all that the disinformation campaign has successfully, dramatically reduced confidence in environmental scientists," said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford professor who oversaw the poll.

He points to consistent levels of trust in climate scientists since 2006, when the survey first asked the question.  In the latest poll, 71 percent of respondents say they trust scientists at least moderately.  Nine years ago, the number was 72 percent.

On a carbon tax, the poll found that 61 percent of respondents favor taxing corporations for releasing greenhouse gas emissions.  There's stronger support for a carbon tax that provides rebates to American households; 67 percent agree with that policy.
"We're tremendously encouraged," Charles Komanoff, director of the Carbon Tax Center, said of the poll's findings.  "We're not dumbstruck by it, because we've been sensing a shift in opinion that the tide is moving our way. But it's fantastic to get this kind of confirmation."

The Niskanen Center is a new proponent of taxing carbon. The libertarian group recently proposed a plan to swap out U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan for a revenue-neutral carbon tax. One of its key arguments is based on the idea that carbon pricing is a political reality and conservatives could be left on the sidelines if they continue to question the science behind climate change.

Public is willing; Congress is not
As for a swap, Komanoff estimates that the Clean Power Plan could be replaced fairly cheaply. He calculates that a $2.15-per-ton carbon tax could result in the same level of emission reductions as the EPA power plant rules, which are expected to be released this summer.  The tax would rise by $2.15 every year until 2030, and it would only cover emissions from the electricity sector.

"That speaks not to how great a carbon tax is, but rather how meager the Clean Power Plan target is," Komanoff said.

Read more at Support for Carbon Tax Reaches Almost 70%

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